The Power of Presence

As a coach and mentor to loan originators all around the country, I am often asked, what are the key differences between those that consistently reach higher levels of production and those that struggle to maintain minimal levels of performance? While there are a number of things that I can identify, one comes to mind this time of year, Presence! Not the kind left under the tree, or the ones we give during this holiday season of good tidings; but rather our physical presence and connection with those we work with and those we are hoping to work with.

I have commented in past blogs about the way to approach the holiday season with all the parties and special events. I have shared my thoughts on specific “do’s and don’ts” about being a professional during the holiday season, today I want to talk about the single most important gift, the gift of your personal time. Your physical presence during the next five to six weeks will help set the tone of your relationships for the upcoming year. Think about it, while most in our industry set their lives on “cruise control” after Thanksgiving, I try to convince my people to be out, active, and engaged.

The weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year Celebration are not just for parties. These weeks can be critical in building new relationships, repairing older issues, and the basic engaged maintenance everyone needs to do in the personal referral industry! Be the mortgage professional out networking and encouraging your referral partners to put together that last transaction for the year. Just one extra transaction can often be a big difference.

The other critical piece of “presence” is just being there when others aren’t. Often as the year rolls down, mortgage professionals and their real estate referral partners get more caught up in where the next party is, instead of where are the potential opportunities just waiting for me to find? For those Realtors® who are in their office this time of year who are seriously working to put together a transaction, they are not there because the want to be there; they are working because they HAVE to be there! Same thing holds true for potential clients. This time of year, nobody is out looking at properties because they are bored or want decorating ideas. People out looking for homes right now are looking because they HAVE to find a home NOW!

I know some of you may doubt that it is worth the effort to be engaged with this kind of effort while others are attending parties and having fun. My point is it’s not mutually exclusive. You can work hard and be social at the same time. But the relationships you can find and build this time of year by getting out and really working with those who really need to put a deal together, are relationships that will reward you all year long. So get out and be engaged. Your presence is often worth more than your present.

One quick note, I wanted to share with you the stories of three originators who last week go involved in their own “Black Friday Sale Event” last week. One originator in Virginia used the concept and put together three new loans thanks to this promotion and was asked by a number of his agents if they could continue the “sale” for another week so that other clients could participate!

Another loan officer got their first deal from a sought after builder on Friday when they couldn’t reach their primary referral partner. Not only did they get that deal, they were asked to meet this week for lunch to discuss future opportunities!

The last originator was able to convert a refinance opportunity into a listing/purchase opportunity for one of their Realtor® referral partners when they explained that buying that “forever home” today was a much better deal than just lowering the payment on their current home!

Congratulations to you three for taking advantage of a simple strategy! If any of you have used any of the strategies shared on this blog to grow your business, or have a success story you would like to share, I would love to hear it. Please reach us at: or email me at


Black Friday Strategy

Happy Thanksgiving to all my blog followers! We are wrapping up a really special year and we should all be very thankful we have the opportunity to do what we do. With that in mind, all of my originators and Realtor® friends, did you have a “Black Friday Strategy” all set up this year? No, I don’t mean planning what store opens when, or where to get that 50” TV for $99. I mean did you have a strategy to do a loan or sell a home this weekend?

Funny thing is that most in our industry look at Thanksgiving as the end point of the year to put together transactions that will still close in the current year. Most will leave the office today and begin looking for all the holiday parties and think about what next year has in store for us. Well, this is really flawed thinking by a vast majority of those in our industry. In fact, for a few really advanced teams of loan originators and Realtors®, this isn’t the end of anything, it is the beginning.

For those advanced teams, they have a strategy to use this weekend to find any last minute transactions that need to be completed before the end of the year, as well as identifying opportunities that will close early in next year. You see, people who are actually working this holiday weekend are doing so because they have too. While everyone else is shopping or relaxing with their family, a few professionals are engaged in putting together deals that just have to come together. Let’s be honest, not many people out looking at property this time of year are doing so just to look; they are doing so to BUY! They are out looking because they HAVE TO MAKE IT HAPPEN!

So while you are watching football or reaching for that bowl of chips, think about the opportunities there might have been if you had a simple “Black Friday Strategy” like this:

1)    Let all your referring partners know you would be working the weekend and will be available to meet with their clients.

2)    Schedule some time on Black Friday to go out and visit each real estate office you work with and let people know you are around and maybe share a discount on closing costs for those that are preapproved this weekend and close by January 31st with you.

3)    Work with a few Realtors® to identify their listings where we might engage the sellers into offering a special “Black Friday Price” for their currently listed property and hold a special Open House over the weekend for those properties.

Three simple ideas that help you set yourself apart from everyone else. That is a big part of any business plan, differentiation! Always ask these important questions:

1)    How do I help my referral partners do more business?

2)    How do I bring value to them during the process?

3)    How do I create new opportunities from current circumstances?

4)    How do I provide value for my customers?

5)    What action do I need to take to get it done!

Having a strategy is important. You can’t develop much of a business if everything that happens is accidental and not planned. Not everyone wants or needs to work a holiday weekend. But for those that do, they need to put deals together and put them together NOW!

Black Friday is a day that begins on Thursday and has people waiting on long lines to save money on things they may or even may not need. Well for loan originators and Realtors®, Black Friday is an opportunity to close out the year with a few needed transactions and start the next one with people committed to getting a deal done.

I have never come across an originator or Realtor® that had great months in January and February that had a bad year. The best way to start the year off well is to have a head start! Your head start is NOW!

We welcome your questions and comments; please share your thoughts with us at:

Working The Room

Hard to believe that next week we see Thanksgiving. Besides Black Friday, we begin the season of holiday parties in the mortgage and real estate industry, along with all the other parties. While certainly a special time of the year to have some fun, please remember that you have a chance to both generate new opportunities, as well as destroy your business! Loan originators, managers, and owners can all profit from properly networking the holiday party scene.

Here are six simple rules to make sure you maximize the opportunities and have a great and healthy holiday season:

1)    Have a plan! What parties and events are a must for you to attend? You never want to miss a key client’s event. Be sure you have an event calendar and get everything scheduled.

2)    Work the room first! Make sure you say hello to all the people in the room before filling your plate or your glass.

3)    Collect cards and make notes of people you meet for the first time and be sure you send a note or a thank you card to the host and any new contacts.

4)    Make at least one introduction of two or more people who haven’t yet met each other.

5)    DO NOT GET DRUNK! Nothing ruins the relationship faster. It is not professional and you will never get past the fact that you were “that drunk at the party”.

6)    Be careful of pictures and stories that hit Social Media. It takes a split second for someone to take a picture and splash it all over the Internet. DON’T BECOME THE LATEST YouTube® sensation!

I have been to more than my share of holiday parties. I share these rules with you because I have personally seen what can happen when you don’t. In the age of instant imaging and the 24-hour information cycle, you really need to pay attention and protect your professional image. One single lapse can leave a lasting result.

Work the room effectively. Establish a rhythm of short three-minute conversations. Pay attention to those you meet and exchange cards with those you are meeting for the first time. If you have a bad memory like me, write a short note on the back of their card about the conversation you had so it is easier to follow up with after the party. It takes just a few seconds but will be very helpful so you don’t confuse the people you are meeting.

Use a circular clockwise or counter-clockwise motion around the room. It makes it easier to work each little group and helps you make sure you don’t miss anyone.

Be sure to notice people as they come in. Don’t rush over to them, just make sure if you know them to make eye contact and then move toward them when you conclude your current conversation. You never want anyone to think you are “better dealing them”. Each conversation is important. Be polite and respectful, complete the conversation and move on. If you need to move on and the person you are speaking with won’t allow the conversation to end, introduce them to someone else, or even bring them with you to the next group you need to speak with. It never hurts to introduce people to each other. Also, you never want to leave someone alone as you exit the conversation. Again, if you must, take them with you!

Be sure you say goodbye and thank the host. If you can’t, be sure to send an email or leave a voicemail to apologize for moving on without doing so.

Holiday parties are great. I want you to have fun and enjoy the season with the people you work with and those that are happy to refer you. Just follow these simple rules and not only will you have a good time, but you will see long term rewards by being a true professional!

For questions or comments, please go to my website:

The Election is Over!

So here we are; what seemed like years of campaigning, debates, and commercials (especially if you live in a “swing state”) and the result is nothing. We are exactly where we were. Right track, wrong track, doesn’t matter, we are where we are and we will go where we will go and have been going. To put it all into perspective, all the money spent by both presidential campaigns during this entire process amounts to about what the Federal Reserve buys in mortgage backed securities every business day! All of that said; here is the plan!

The ElecetioLoan originators, managers, owners, and others; we have just two weeks before Thanksgiving! Your plan for how to deal with the work and closing schedules for the balance of the year needs to be addressed and done so soon! What days are we going to be open? What days will you conduct business and closings? Have you even thought about your professional holiday cards and gifts yet?

I ask this because many companies based in the north east will be challenged to fill orders. Some companies have already alerted their customers about this situation. Please do not assume your items can be ordered and delivered as they once were, one of the companies my wife likes to order from has a warehouse in New Jersey that still has no power and has standing water in it!

You also need to set your target dates as to when you will stop accepting loans for closing in 2012. With some critical legislation set to expire by the end of the year, be certain if you promise to close a loan in 2012, you can deliver on that promise!

With less than sixty days to go before the year ends, most of you should be pretty clear as to what your final numbers will look like. Are we better this year than we thought? Did we reach our goals, exceed them, or fall short? Now is the time to take a quick look to see where you are and what you need to be doing to secure 2012, but more importantly, look at 2013 and set a plan in motion to be ready to hit the ground running.

As I have said before, 2013 will be a better year for most mortgage professionals. With a clear picture of the policies we will live within, we need to make any adjustments to our systems to be ready to do better! You need to ask yourself a few basic questions:

1)    Will the systems I have been using get me to the level of production I desire in 2013?

2)    What am I doing now that I need to improve upon?

3)    Specifically, what are my goals for 2013?

4)    What will I have to do differently in 2013 so that I reach those goals?

5)    Do I need to learn or incorporate any new systems and technologies in 2013, and when will I do this?

6)    Looking are all the sources of business I have, am I confident I have what I need to reach my goal, and if not, what is the plan?

Business planning is critical for loan originators, managers, and owners so that they have the focus and direction needed to succeed. Having a realistic conversation with yourself and others about where you are is the first step in finding the path to where you want to go.

2013 holds vast opportunities in the mortgage industry for those that can focus on what they want and how they will get there. Unfortunately, the industry is also changing and some of these changes will require a higher level of professionalism and competency for those that wish to stay. Old standards are gone. The “casual” loan originator is on the way out the door. Higher levels of production and proficiency are the new “normal”. We have to require higher standards from the “average” originator. More units, better quality submissions, and a higher degree of customer satisfaction will be required. All the new regulations require us to do better. Higher standards are the reality of our industry. For those that see this and adapt, the opportunities are endless. For those that fight the change, your days are numbered. It is far too easy to get it right. Step up and succeed, the rewards are worth it!

I do offer a monthly coaching program that will keep you up to date on the newest regulations and systems that are available. For more information on the monthly program visit my website or contact me.

For any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at my website: or email

It Keeps Getting Better!

About a year ago I published a White Paper that said 2012 was going to be the best year ever in the mortgage industry. I based so many of my thoughts on the fact that we faced the bottom of both the housing market and interest rates, along with a presidential election year which would cause a series of opportunities never before put in place.

Most loan originators have seen an outstanding year. Many have seized the opportunities in the refinance market, as well as the growing demand to purchase homes. Many of my private coaching clients are setting personal records in both production and income, and with the Federal Reserve buying billions in mortgage backed securities each month, interest rates will remain attractive.

Owners, managers, and originators have all begun the process and have looked at 2013 and are trying to get clear on their vision. Here are my thoughts about what we can expect in the months to come, and what we can do to prepare for it.

The housing market will continue to grow and new construction will begin to come back. More importantly, existing home re-sales will really pick up steam. Those who had been reluctant to make a move will become more confident in the thought that owning a home is a great deal, and that while we may not be at the “bottom” of the market, increasing prices will help create confidence in the investment side of the transaction. In addition, as values begin to rise, more people will be able to get out from “under” their homes and sell them for a profit and buy their “forever home” at a good price and finance it with a low interest rate.

The other reason I see an increase in demand will be two fold, the pressure on rental rates going up is making purchases more attractive, and the addition of thousands of newly qualified buyers who either short sold or had a foreclosure a few years ago that can now think about buying again! Remember when I told you to incubate those short sale people and be nice to them? Remember when I said many of those people would quickly reestablish credit and be back? They are starting to appear in larger and larger numbers.

Now interest rates can pretty much go in any direction or stay the same, in any case, we will see action. Why? Because rates are great right now and people are taking advantage. If pressure pushes them down into the 2’s, then we are off to the races again with both purchase and another round of refinances. If rates start to tick upward, people will flock to homes trying to buy before rates go any higher. In any case, it represents more opportunities!

The election results won’t matter. Not as far as housing goes. Regardless of who wins and who controls what, people will buy homes. Don’t worry about tax policy, interest rates, the economy, health care, social security, or anything else; housing is coming back because people can’t wait any longer! What about future regulation of our industry? Are you kidding? What else can they do? More disclosures, more forms, more delays, more inspections, more testing, more taxes, more red tape, more restrictions? We have lived through the worst that could happen, and if you are still in the industry, CONGRATULATIONS!!! YOU WON!!! You are part of the small group that gets to be the new face of residential lending! You get to acquire all the new purchase business left to you by those that forgot how to do a purchase deal, or may have never learned. Either way, it’s all YOU!

2013 will be the year people look back at and recognize as the first full year that real estate was back! People want and need to own homes. If they have a job now, it’s likely they aren’t going to lose it. If they were, they would have been gone by now. Rental prices are soaring all over, and ownership is a great deal at these prices and at these costs.

So get ready. You don’t have much time to prepare for 2013. You, your team, and your company, really need to be prepared. In sixty days 2013 will be here and you will need a plan BEFORE you walk in the door. A great January and February starts TODAY! Are you ready?

For those of you that need help with the basics, I have a group coaching class that begins next Tuesday. Ten sessions over twenty weeks to help you get a solid foundation. For those who are more advanced, I do have a few openings in the Executive Coaching Program for that one on one experience. If you have a group or a company that needs some help with a plan, contact me for a special deal on a one day business planning event for up to fifty people.

Any questions or comments, please visit my website: or email me directly